Friday, 5 Jun 2020

Cruise Lines Prepare for Return but CDC No-Sail Order Still in Place

The financially battered cruise line industry is hoping for a return to the seas in short order, with some churning out itineraries that begin in a month.

The problem—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still has a no-sail order in place that is effective through July 24 due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Yet Royal Caribbean said its own suspension of cruises will end on June 12, while Norwegian intends to sail again on July 1.

Carnival announced it will hit the water again on August 1, although it hedged its bet by tweeting: “Any resumption of cruise operations—whenever that may be—is fully dependent on our continued efforts in cooperation with federal, state, local and international government officials.”

But as the Post noted, cruise lines are gearing up with no published policies on how they plan to keep ships sanitized or deal with social distancing protocol.

“I was super surprised to hear them coming out with sailing dates so early, but on the financial side, they have to,” Peter Ricci, Director of Hospitality & Tourism Management Programs at Florida Atlantic University, told the paper. “They can do a number of things to get back in operation where people would feel comfortable, but I wouldn’t book until I saw that.”

Ricci said part of the issue is that, unlike other modes of travel, a cruise is a vacation in and of itself that relies heavily on social, group participation.

“Their entire model is based on social activity,” he said. “From the large lobbies to the dining facilities, bars, nightclubs and casinos.”

The CDC’s no-sail order states, in part, that “cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases.”

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